A former auditor for the state of Nebraska’s Medicaid office has pleaded guilty to bilking both the program and his elderly, nursing home-bound father of about $380,000.
Craig Barnett served for about 11 years as administrator of the Medicaid Audit and Financial Support Division in Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services while he perpetrated the scam. According to court records, after gaining power of attorney for his father in 2010, Barnett went on to steal his dad’s pension, retiree grant payments and mutual fund dollars.
Barnett spent just a small fraction of those funds on his father’s nursing home care, with the account now $118,000 in arrears, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Tuesday. Instead, he deposited checks into a shared account with his wife for his “own personal use and enjoyment,” according to court records. The amount lost is in dispute, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Franklin estimates the former Medicaid official stole $294,396 from his 85-year-old father, and another $84,110 from the payment program he was tasked with overseeing. Medicaid payment kicked in after the octogenarian’s retirement funds were spent.
As part of a plea agreement, Barnett pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud last week in the U.S. District Court of Omaha. He is set for sentencing in April.